Skip to main content
ARS Home » Midwest Area » Bowling Green, Kentucky » Food Animal Environmental Systems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #366754

Research Project: Developing Safe, Efficient and Environmentally Sound Management Practices for the Use of Animal Manure

Location: Food Animal Environmental Systems Research

Title: Effect of antibiotics on methane gas production during anaerobic digestion of agricultural waste

item BHAVSAR, VIRAL - Western Kentucky University
item KASUMBA, JOHN - Western Kentucky University
item Agga, Getahun
item Loughrin, John
item CONTE, ERIC - Western Kentucky University
item Antle, Stacy
item Parekh, Rohan

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/24/2020
Publication Date: 3/5/2020
Citation: Bhavsar, V., Kasumba, J., Agga, G.E., Loughrin, J.H., Conte, E.D., Antle, S.W., Parekh, R.R. 2020. Effect of antibiotics on methane gas production during anaerobic digestion of agricultural waste. Meeting Abstract. Paper No. 626-2P.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Methanogens are a group of microorganisms that break down the components of animal waste into simpler components such as methane, carbon dioxide and other gases during anaerobic digestion (AD). The AD of wastes to produce biogas is accomplished by a consortium of microorganisms, especially obligately anaerobic fermenters, that produce short-chain organic acids and hydrogen, and archaea which use these products to produce methane. The produced methane biogas, which is a form of renewable energy, is used as a heating fuel for farmers and anaerobic digesters, thus making these systems self-sustained and cost-effective. In addition, AD is used for the management of animal wastes and limits the impact of greenhouse gases when methane is used for electric power, instead of being released into the atmosphere. The digested material can also be used as fertilizer for organic crop production. The purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of antibiotics in animal waste versus methane production during AD. Antibiotics are commonly used in animal feed to promote animal weight gain and prevent illnesses. It is also known that a vast quantity of the antibiotics administrated to animals are excreted through feces and urine, which make up manure. We hypothesize that the presence of antibiotics in the animal manure may impact the quantity of methane production by affecting methanogens. Generated gases were quantified using gas chromatography with flame ionization (for CH4), thermal conductivity (for CO2). We investigated the impact of sulfamethoxazole, tylosin and chlortetracycline at varying concentrations in a laboratory designed digester systems. These antibiotics represent three classes of antibiotics commonly used in the food animal production system in the United States. This study will produce data that will allow us to gain insights into the effect of antibiotics and their concentrations for the optimization of methane production from AD of animal wastes.